Friday, January 24, 2020

South Africa schedules new no-confidence vote against Zuma

(Reuters) – South Africa’s parliament has scheduled a motion of no-confidence against President Jacob Zuma for Feb. 22, the parliament’s speaker said on Friday, following a request from the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party.

Zuma has survived several no-confidence votes during his scandal-plagued presidency, but the calls for him to step down have grown louder since he was replaced as leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party in December.

Top ANC officials including Cyril Ramaphosa, the party’s new leader, have been discussing options for Zuma’s departure.

Zuma is expected to meet the party’s top six officials this weekend, but the agenda of the meeting has not been disclosed.

Zuma, 75, is currently battling a string of corruption allegations and Ramaphosa has in recent weeks pledged to make tackling graft one of his top priorities.

The ultra-left EFF party wrote a letter to parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete earlier this week, asking that she schedule a no-confidence vote before the president’s state of the nation address to parliament on Feb. 8.

“Ms Mbete informed EFF leader Mr Julius Malema that she had decided to schedule their requested motion of no confidence in the President for 22 February,” the parliament said in a statement on Friday.

In the EFF’s letter, the party said Zuma was not a suitable head of state, since he was destined to be involved in a judicial enquiry into state corruption.

Zuma agreed to establish the enquiry into so-called “state capture”, a South African term for government corruption, last month.

Another opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, earlier asked Mbete to postpone the state of the nation address until Zuma had been removed from office.


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